Pursuant to Section 403.031 of the Florida Statutes, a stormwater management program is the City’s institutional strategy for stormwater management, including regulating urban flooding, and other stormwater effects. The City created its stormwater management system, which system is designed and constructed or to be implemented to control discharges which are necessitated by rainfall events, incorporating methods to collect, convey, store, absorb, inhibit, treat, use, or reuse water to prevent or reduce flooding, over-drainage, environmental degradation and water pollution (or otherwise affect the quantity and quality of discharges from the system). The City’s Stormwater Utility created in 1992 is the funding mechanism for the design, construction, and maintenance of the stormwater management program by assessing the costs of the program to the beneficiaries based on their relative contribution to the system’s needs. The City stormwater policy requires property owners to construct on-site stormwater management systems to handle their stormwater volume.
To meet the needs of the City, the City is investing over $650 million in various infrastructure improvements, which improvements will need to be made over an estimated span of 10 years. The infrastructure improvements include installing larger pipes, pump stations, and raising roads to ensure that the roads do not flood in the future for 10-year rainfall event.
On October 1, 2016, the City increased its stormwater rate in order to support the debt service for the 2017 Stormwater bonds for the principal purposes of paying a part of the costs of certain improvements to the stormwater utility. The rate increase was expected to generate and contribute approximately $7.8 million per year to cover annual debt service of approximately $16.7 million on stormwater bonds. The 2017 stormwater bonds were issued in December 2017. The first 12 months prior to the issuance of the 2017 stormwater bonds provided approximately $7 million that was placed into reserves for the period ending September 30, 2017.
In Fiscal Year 2017, $469,352 was spent on temporary pumps and generators. For Fiscal Year 2018, temporary pump expenditures have been anticipated at $1,100,000. The temporary pump rental fees for the actual pumps and back-up generators, are not an eligible expense under the stormwater bonds.
The City does not have a sufficient dedicated funding source to continue to fund the temporary pump rentals, including the temporary pumps and generators. The stormwater rate increases being paid by the residents are solely to fund the debt service for the Series 2017 stormwater bonds. As the stormwater bonds cannot be used for temporary pumps and generators, it may not be fiscally prudent to continue to fund such temporary relief from flooding and sea level rise. Annually, the City faces King Tides, hurricanes and heavy rain events. Proposed infrastructure improvements will provide permanent relief from these types of events.
The Mayor and City Commission may direct the Administration to cease utilizing the temporary pumps and generators, as it would be fiscally irresponsible to do so without a dedicated funding source, and the Administration be directed to solely use the temporary pumps and generators under the following circumstances: (1) if a water event can be predicted, for example, a King Tide event, then the Administration is to place an item on the City Commission agenda requesting the City Commission to authorize the expenditure for temporary pumps and generators to combat the King Tide, with an identifiable funding source; or (2) if there is an emergency situation, for example, a hurricane event, then the Administration may use its discretion to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents and visitors of Miami Beach, and utilize temporary pumps and generators, provided, however, the Administration, at the next City Commission meeting, bring to the City Commission a resolution to authorize, after-the-fact, the emergency expenditure on temporary pumps and generators, with an identifiable funding source.
The temporary pumps and generators would not be utilized for routine flooding or maintenance purposes, as the City needs to ensure that the capital projects proposed under the City’s Stormwater Master Plan, and as funded through the various stormwater bonds, are timely constructed.